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Biannual Reports
Ancient Oaks Farm

to the Kriz Family, report #1

December 13, 1999
From: Bruce Damer
To: Joe and Donna Kriz
Dear Joe and Donna,

Well it has been quite a year and I thought you would be interested in a little report on progress here at "Ancient Oaks". I also wanted to take this opportunity to wish you the very best of the season and send my regards to your new home from our (and your former) home. Well where to start? Personally things are going well, Galen, my darling from New Jersey, moved in here in June and is learning whole new skills (such as picking up buckets of rotting apples, we had a bumper crop this year but the trees need pruning). As far as the property, here is a list of what has been accomplished, building upon the legacy that you left us. There is a question at the end of which we could really use your advice if you have the time. I have also included many photos of progress around here for your interest.

Progress Made in 1999:

1.      Cleaned up front drive, planted bamboo from back of house in this area

2.      Did some landscaping of many areas. Pulled up berry vines along barn upper side and elsewhere, planted ice plant from the beach.

3.      Installed new lawn over gopher wire (gophers still getting under from edges but can no longer make holes up through lawn). Lawn in back yard doing well, lawn in lower area close to barn doing poorly, too shaded.

4.      Built deck in L shape along top of retaining walls around back lawn, built stairs from back veranda to deck and down to lawn. Deck and new lawn with existing gazebo served as focal point for the wedding of friends of ours from Santa Cruz (just as it had served you so well).

5.      Scraped all roads and layered on base rock.

6.      Installed propane tank and new propane furnace, feeding existing ductwork

7.      Held first "Ancient Oaks Community" hillside BQ meeting with the Robbins getting to know people and getting consensus on the maintenance of the road. Gordon Candy said his piece about water flowing up hill and was then pretty much ignored. Frank and I trenched watercourses to move heavy rainwater down the side of the road. San Lorenzo Water did free patching on both sides.

8.      Convinced San Lorenzo Water that seepage up through barn floor was their problem, they installed new mains and meters along roadway, abandoning old system. In the process they discovered an illegal tap off of water that fed hoses on Gordon Candy's side (all now abandoned). We now have new meters (us and Candy) by the roadway. They successfully avoided and hopefully did not cut buried 220 phase power lines.

9.      Cut down all dead trees including the large pine at the front. Row of Monterey pines along the top of the property are starting to die of pitch canker disease and we don't know what to do about it.

10. Kept old man cat "blackie" alive for another year and adopted two kittens that were offspring of his with Robbins' cat.

11. Installed DSL internet and house network with server and extra equipment in the front room closet.

12. Did wetpatch all over house roof, some on barn but leaking on barn persisting

Many are clickable to larger views!

Bamboo transplanted and planted as a verge along the cleaned up front driveway area.

New deck, one view

Another view of new deck

Wedding of Eric and Marni held on June 19, 1999 using new deck as a procession way. Click here to see the wedding site!

Some flower planting done for the wedding

Grape crop along the deck

View of new canopy on the deck

Old Man "blackie" survives another year

But he is probably not long for this world now

Tomato crop in the greenhouse

More tomatoes coming!

Galen the tomato girl!

Century plant blooms with 20 foot high stalk!

Bumper apple crop this year

Meeting with Ancient Oaks hillside community in Sept at the Robbins

New neighbors getting to know each other

Roads Tune Up

Steve Byrd with old coal burner box after removal

Ductwork being installed for new furnace

New propane tank being set into place where old metal shed was

Gas piping being placed from tank to house under walkway

Trenching for new water mains

Digging of new course from mains to old access to house water

Illegal tap off old mains to Candy property

Pouring 2 bag concrete to fill in course of new mains

Bob Fogel Topping old pine tree by front of house

Felling the tree (5 other felled and burned)

View of backyard

View of new computers and serves in front room closet

Me during wiring of house with new computers

My Question: Cracking on the back veranda area

As you might be able to see from these following pictures, there is a crack developing in the concrete pour under the slate tiles on the veranda area behind the house. This could be due to subsidence of the original pour onto the earth below it. To place the deck in place we did remove the rotting wooden retaining wall keeping the soil in. The soil however is not moving much out from under the concrete. Our question is: what might be be the best course of action: to build a concrete retaining wall between the current position of the deck (clearance was left for this), fill in the crack with some sealer as this may be letting water in or both?

Crack developing under tiles, tiles coming loose, how best to reseat them?


More evidence of crack in underlying concrete pour

View under the deck showing some soil subsiding from under the veranda,. What is this buried white power line by the base of the hot tub?

Warmest regards of the season to you all!
From Galen and Bruce (and Jim Essex)


Bruce Damer

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